01/23/2003 12:00AM

Deep freeze pains riders if not horses


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It was business as usual for riders at Aqueduct on Thursday, even though temperatures hovered in the mid-teens, a persistent wind was blowing, and the wind chill factor was in the single digits.

To limit the amount of time that the jockeys had to spend in the frigid temperatures on the coldest day of the season so far, post parades were shortened to three minutes.

Brutally cold weather can be extremely uncomfortable for riders because they can't pile on extra layers of clothing like the rest of us. Every extra pound counts when you are a jockey.

"I'll wear an extra pair of gloves and a face mask," Mike Luzzi said before the first race. "We're little people, with no circulation. My hands get cold."

Richard Migliore, who won three races on Thursday's card, said the extreme cold can impair a rider's thinking process and is taxing on the body.

"You might react slower than you normally would," Migliore said. "I have a pretty good constitution for the cold. But if you ride a lot of horses, you are just spent [at the end of the day] because the body works hard to stay warm."

The bone-chilling temperatures kept the number of horses working at Belmont Park and Aqueduct to a minimum on Thursday. Only two horses were listed on Belmont's work tab and one at Aqueduct.

Dr. Anthony Verderosa, a New York Racing Association veterinarian, said Thursday's temperatures were not dangerous for horses. He said the concern is for a horse's respiratory system when actual temperatures plummet to well below zero.

Wilzada named to Feb. 1 Correction

Trainer Tony Dutrow has nominated Interborough winner Wilzada to the $75,000-added Correction on Feb. 1 and said the filly's participation in the race would hinge on her weight assignment.

Weights for the six-furlong Correction are due out on Sunday. Wilzada has won her last three starts for owner William Beatson Jr. After Wilzada's five-length romp in the ungraded Interborough on New Year's Day, Dutrow mentioned the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie on Feb. 15 at Laurel Park as a possible spot for the 4-year-old Meadowlake filly.

Dutrow said he hasn't ruled out running Wilzada, who is based at Laurel Park, in the Correction and then back in the Grade 2 Fritchie two weeks later.

"A lot depends on the Correction weights; if we're happy, we could easily run there," Dutrow said. "Make no mistake the [Fritchie] is the better race and it's right here. But I don't need to make a decision on the Fritchie right now."

Two of Wilzada's last three wins have come over a sloppy track, including the Interborough, in which she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 105.

"She runs very well, period," Dutrow said. "But she's even better in the slop."

Dutrow said Harford Ghost, who was a 4 1/2-length winner of a first-level allowance race at Aqueduct last Saturday, is being pointed to the $75,000-added Dearly Precious for 3-year-old fillies on Feb. 15. It was Harford Ghost's first start since being transferred to Dutrow's barn.

"She did it easily; she's a nice kind of filly," said Dutrow, who is also pointing 6 1/2-length maiden winner Recherche to the Dearly Precious.

One week after the Dearly Precious, Dutrow is planning on running City Blues, a Carson City colt, in the $75,000-added Best Turn for 3-year-olds. In his second start, City Blues won a maiden race by two lengths at Laurel Park on Jan. 16.

Esteemed Friend, 9, wins No. 20

Esteemed Friend, an oldie but a goodie in New York for many years, got up in the nick of time to win Thursday's fifth race.

Nine-year-old Esteemed Friend, a son of Gulch, made his 67th career start and recorded his 20th victory in the six-furlong claiming race.

Trained by Dimitrios Synnefias at Suffolk Downs, Esteemed Friend was entered for $65,000, but not claimed.

Owner Anthony Pyliotis claimed the gelding, a graded stakes winner, a year ago for $35,000 at Aqueduct and has won six races with him. Turf writers named Esteemed Friend New England's Horse of the Year in 2002.

"He's been terrific to me," Pyliotis said. "He's run competitive in every race. He's like an old pro."

Thursday's win boosted Esteemed Friend's career earnings to $799,117.

Marc's Rainbow tops Busanda field

Marc's Rainbow is expected to head a field of 3-year-old fillies in Sunday's $75,000-added Busanda Stakes.

Others pointing to the mile and 70-yard race are Cyber Secret, Formal Dancer, Friel's for Real, Indy Five Hundred, Ladyecho, Show Bug, The Name Was Gone, and Xtra Heart.